Game 131 goes to McSundstrom

Final positions in Game No. 131.

March Madness tipped off today with a classic East vs. West tilt at Dan Burgess’ home in Downers Grove. Sharing the board top were the East’s champion, Matt Sundstrom, and the West’s, Ted McClelland. The game ended after the Fall 1908 turn in the following center counts:


Austria (Matt Sundstrom): 10; 34.965 points.
England (Ted McClelland): 10; 34.965 points.
France (John Gramila): 6; 12.587 points.
Germany (Mark Weiskircher): 0; 0.000 points.
Italy (Tony Prokes): 7; 17.133 points.
Russia (Nate Cockerill): 1; 0.350 points.
Turkey (Don Glass): 0; 0.000 points.

For the five players in the draw, all but Nate improved their scores for the season. Don, meanwhile, got his third goose egg in three games. Ouch.

This game is the first of four scheduled March Madness games, one in each weekend, and is also the fourth straight weekend in which we’ve held a house game. March Madness continues next week at Ted McClelland’s home in Rogers Park, but we need two more players to round out that board. How about coming out to join the fun?

Here’s the supply center chart. Now let’s hear from the players…

Join the discussion!

Find out more about an upcoming event or article, talk smack before a game, brag about your board top, or most likely, ask what on earth your fellow Weasels were thinking!

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Dan Burgess

    Once again, I had a blast hosting the guys for another fun game. It was fun and easy to score the game with RealPolitik and create and upload maps for the conference rooms.

    I plan to have four more house games before the summer season-ending Weasel Pyle, so stay tuned if you want in on some of the fun in Downers Grove.

    Players, let’s hear your thoughts on Game 131!

  2. Jim O'Kelley

    I’m procrastinating getting ready for a wedding shower. You may or may not find this interesting. In terms of net score, meaning how much their sum of three games improved with yesterday’s score, here’s how it shakes out (scores are rounded):

    1) Ted McClelland, 34.97 points.
    2) Tony Prokes, 13.67 points.
    3) John Gramila, 12.17 points.
    4) Matt Sundstrom, 8.51 points.
    5) Nate Cockerill, 0.00 points.

    If Ted could have held on to the board top, he certainly would have cracked the top seven…bumping out Matt Sundstrom. Matt had the smallest gain, but by tying Ted, he preserved his spot in the top seven. For now.

  3. Tony Prokes

    This was an interesting game, on several fronts. First of all we selected countries via preference lists, being a masochist I decided to place Italy on the top of my list. This should outright tell you that I was not in a stable frame of mind at the time. But what was more ironic was that somehow, Nate still ended up with Russia… a country he has now played about 6 times out of his 17 games.

    I decided to open conservatively as I felt that Italy though the center of the map, has the most influence on the board. I opened (A)Piedmont, (A)Naples, and (F)Ionian Sea in my opening moves, which kept me fairly agile in deciding which direction I wanted to go after viewing others opening moves. Matt (in A-H) and I had a good rapport going and at the onsite decided that Turkey should be our primary target clearing our back corner, and then we can focus on Russia. It was my job to keep the Western Powers infighting and at bay until we could get that done.

    This worked exceeding well, as I was able to prop up a two center Germany for a year and was bouncing in the Gulf of Lyon and W. Med with France by mutual (and at times unspoken) agreement. That is until Matt stabbed me for two dots in the Spring of 1905(?) and looked to take even more. (He pointed out, correctly, that all the dots except for Tunis that I had were taken from him.) It looked like a bleak time for the Italians after the orders were read, and France (John) smelled blood in the water. However, after calmly talking to Matt (even congratulating him on the stab) I pointed out the board position and what would happen in the long run. Basically I was holding his Western Front, and without ships, France would steamroll in, whereas Nate in Northern Russia was a less valuable ally because with a little luck he would be able to beat England to the stalemate line. He was able to recognize my points, and backed out of both centers even though I was only asking for one back. This turn alone is why I love this game. As the orders were read, the looks of perplexity on everyone else’s face was evident as Matt walked out of both my centers, supporting Gemany and marched northward.

    John and Ted worked really well together as France and England, which meant that Nate, Mark, and Don were unfortunately gouged to feed the EF and AI machines. Don, put up a heck of a fight in Turkey with a couple of great moves, but was ultimately defeated by a sneaky convoy that would make the Head War Weasel proud.

    Thanks everyone for showing up and Dan for hosting!

  4. Ted McClelland

    Hello, fellow Dipshits,

    After bidding for England in every game this season, I finally got it. My western neighbors were John Gramila (France) and Mark Weiskircher (Germany). All three of us played at Pete McNamara’s house in December, when Mark and I rolled the board as England and France. I reminded John how well the E-F alliance had worked in that game, and we agreed to unite against Germany. John’s not a Stabby McStabberson, so I knew he’d be a good ally. By 1902, Mark was saying, “I guess I’ll be able to do my taxes today,” and “I’ll never be able to play Germany again in this club.”

    (Actually, Mark did well as Germany in his last game. I was Italy then, and he kinda screwed me in Spring 1901 by agreeing to move to Burgundy if I went to Piedmont, then not moving to Burgundy.)

    Meanwhile, in the Balkans, Matt Sundstrom was employing his usual smooth talk to get three builds as Austria in 1901. Matt needs to get a job convincing people that dog turds are a better investment than gold bullion. Matt and Tony Prokes (Italy) eliminated Turkey. To prevent Matt from growing, I was giving some help to Nate Cockerill’s Russia, supporting him into Denmark so he could get a build. The next year, though, I took Denmark, along with Sweden.

    John and I agreed that he could have Belgium, to keep our center counts even, but he misordered Paris-Belgium, when his unit was in Picardy. That gave me two builds. I considered foregoing one, to maintain parity, but decided an extra fleet could help John against Italy, who was beginning to pressure him in the south.

    The lost build hurt John, though. Italy took Marseilles, and asked me whether I’d consider stabbing France. I told him I’d only stab if he was gobbling up centers in the south, and I had to get my share of France before he fell apart completely. That never happened. Tony took Spain, but John took it back. I did move a fleet to the Channel so I’d be in a position to stab John. If I had done it, though, he probably would have invited Matt into Munich, thus opening the door to the west to Austria.

    The Italy-Austria alliance was at the expense of Russia. Nate was peeved enough to invite me into St. Petersburg. With his one remaining unit, in Moscow, he helped build a stalemate line. By the end of 1907, the game was deadlocked. Matt voted against a draw because he wanted to go over the board with Tony. Then Nate voted to keep playing because he thought Matt and Tony might turn against each other. That didn’t happen, and after two turns in which we all supported our allies’ units, the game ended in Fall 1908. John was a great ally, and Matt and Tony did a nice job with two difficult countries.

    And of course, Dan is still the world’s greatest Diplomacy host. I’ll have a tough act to follow next Saturday.

  5. Matt Sundstrom

    For the record, I work in advertising. Haven’t tried to sell dog turds yet (but I have tried to sell kitty litter, gum, alcohol, pain killers…).

    Thanks to Dan for hosting and putting out the request for players. My schedule is linked to my kids, so it is hard to commit in advance. This was a great opportunity and Dan sat down so I could play. Double thanks.

    I could have done withlut the Michigan/MSU basketball (as could Dan). At least the Canucks beat the Kings. Go Blackhawks.


  6. Ted McClelland

    Also for the record, Matt, I am in awe of your persuasive skills, and have been ever since you used them to solo on me at Weasel Moot 2009. That three-center build just added another chapter to your legend, in my book.

  7. Christopher Michael Davis

    Wait a minute! Dan allowed the UM/MSU basketball game? That is one for the records.

    After watching “Mad Men,” I understand the Sundstrom-style of Diplomacy play much better. Too bad I can’t recreate it, as I fall farther in the standings.

    Maybe someone will take pity on me this weekend at Ted’s. (Yeah, right.)

  8. Dan Burgess

    Yes, prior to the beginning of the Diplomacy game, one of the players requested the intrastate game from Michigan to be shown on the television, though he did not know the time of the game, nor the channel on which it would be aired. The intrepid host consulted the guide on the Directv receiver and found that it was at 1pm on CBS. Since the great (and holders of the best record in the NHL) Vancouver Canucks were not on until 3pm, and another player had expressed interest in the amateur basketball game, the benevolent host capitulated to the request.

    Apparently the Green S school lost to the Blue M school.

  9. Matt Sundstrom

    Some substance to my EOG. We chose via preference lists. I probably ended up with the lowest preference ever, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my last choice. An interesting twist on this process-Dan settled ties on order oin the standings. I think this is an outstanding idea. If you’re lower, your preference gets considered first. Another concept would be to try and equalize countries over the course of a season. God knows Nate doesn’t need to play Russia again and Tony has two huge Englands in his total. Yes, I’m jealous.

    I’m ok with Austria though. Nate asked for a DMZ in Galicia after I requested a bounce. I saw him do this with Sam Bassett at Guthrie’s and thought better of leaving Galicia vacant. My apologies to Nate-he left it vacant. In the west, everyone agreed EF was coming. So Tony thought he’d move Ven-Pie and followed through. After Spring 01, I was in Gal, Ser and Alb with no threat on Trieste. Turkey had opened to Bla, Arm and Rum. Doesn’t get much better than that for Austria. I told Turkey I would move Gal-Rum and left it to him as to whether he’d support it from Bul. I figured no one would contest Alb-Gre, so Ser supported Gal-Rum as did Turkey. So I got Rum and went to 6.

    I would like to have continued to attack Russia, but Germany decided not to bounce Russia in Sweden. Nate got to build an army in Warsaw. That proved costly for Germany later as EF never broke and Russia took Denmark with English support.

    The Russian army in warsaw proved to be a pain. Italy sounded willing to press an attack against Turkey, so I went with that in fall 1902 and gave Italy Greece. Tony took one dot from me every year from 1902-1904. The last dot (Smyrna) frosted me a bit as that was not agreed. So I hit him for two as he threw everything west against EF.

    The negotiations in the fall ’05 turn were key. Russia had disbanded his northern fleet after losing two but kept F: Sev. That made him useless in stopping EF. Tony strongly suggested I’d be better keeping him alive despite my stab. I eventually agreed and went with that. Italy moved wholesale west while I did what I could in the east.

    The rest of the game became a tactical slog. EF could have taken Warsaw back, but that would have been a while.

    I’m not sure if my decision in F ’05 was ideal. The new scoring decision makes it more unclear. I would have kept going after Italy in the old system. More dots. But in the new system, we would go from 4 big powers to 3. I don’t think my number would have been better going to 3.

    Glad to be able to play and hold on to 7th place. Thanks to Dan again.


  10. Tony Prokes

    No matter the scoring system used I think you were better off strategically in keeping Italy around. I’m not just saying it as the Italian player, but you did not have the fleets to hold off the three French fleets that were incoming, not too mention more would have been incoming as John would have gobbled up some of the Italian Dots. Don’t forget that France fell back into the Stalemate line after Italy pushed them back to Spain and MAO after 1905.

    In all honesty I think that should you have pursued the Italian stab it would have been an EF game, with possibly one of them stabbing to get a solo.

    But in any case, I’m glad I survived and retook my standing in forth place after having chosen Italy as first preference.

    Hope to see everyone at CODCon.

  11. Ted McClelland


    I actually looked at assigning everyone the country they’ve played least in their Weasel career for my game, but that would give me England again, which probably would not be appreciated. Before this season, I had only played England once and France once, but Italy five times. That explains why my play has improved so much.

  12. Jim O'Kelley

    I kind of like the ritual of plucking your country from the box, and if you agree up front to allow trading, usually someone will have pity on a guy like, for example, Nate and trade whatever they plucked for his Russia.

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